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Build a Business-Aligned IT Strategy

Success depends on IT initiatives clearly aligned to business goals.

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Contributors

  • Luis Ramón Ramos Espinoza, Chief Information Officer, Suramericana
  • Kyle Saverance, Chief Information Officer, Coker College
  • Scott Ross, SVP Omni-Channel Technologies, Lowe’s Companies
  • Max Min, Director, Waterloo City Centre
  • Philip D’Aurelio, Development Solutions Supervisor, City of Hamilton
  • Michael Dieckmann, Chief Operating Offier, Florida Virtual Campus
  • Joe Evers, Consulting Principal, JcEvers Consulting Corporation
  • Ken Piddington, Chief Information Officer, MRE Consulting
  • 2 anonymous contributors
  • Two of the top three expectations for CIOs are to align to business strategy and to transform business processes.
  • IT does not do a good job aligning to business goals, with 47% of business leaders feeling that their goals are unsupported by IT.
  • Most IT departments lack the skill to develop a strategic plan for IT: a staggering 84% of IT departments surveyed claim their IT strategies are less than adequate.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Everything IT does should support the business. A list of projects is not a strategic plan. A good strategy clearly links IT initiatives to business goals.
  • Business stakeholders cannot translate how IT initiatives will help achieve their objectives. IT needs to provide a concise way for stakeholders to digest how IT initiatives are supporting the organization.
  • A well-crafted IT strategy is critical to enhancing business stakeholder satisfaction and building relationships with business stakeholders.

Impact and Result

  • Derive the IT strategy based on the business context. Use Info-Tech’s implications framework to discern IT implications from the business context.
  • Clearly communicate to business executives how IT will support the organization’s key objectives and initiatives using the Executive Presentation Template.
  • Use Info-Tech’s prioritization matrix to help make project decisions in a holistic manner that allows for the selection of the most valuable initiatives to become part of the IT strategic roadmap.
  • Demonstrate to business executives and the IT organization how the IT strategy was created using Info-Tech’s IT Strategy Template.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should create a visual IT strategy, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Identify the target state

Identify the IT organization's target state using the business context to ensure IT supports business needs.

2. Assess the current state

Conduct an assessment of the IT organization's current state to understand where IT currently stands.

3. Bridge the gap and create the strategy

Analyze the difference between the current state and the target state on a capability perspective, then brainstorm initiatives to bridge the gap and secure approval for the IT strategy.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Identify the target state

Call #1 - Identify the business context status and IT implications.
Call #2 - Create components of the IT target state.

Guided Implementation #2 - Assess the current state

Call #1 - Assess current IT capabilities and budget.
Call #2 - Examine additional factors impacting IT and identify the current IT maturity.

Guided Implementation #3 - Bridge the gap and create the strategy

Call #1 - Assess the gaps between the current and target states.
Call #2 - Work toward IT strategy approval.

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IT Strategy

Develop a data-driven, fit-for-purpose plan with a strong link to execution.
This course makes up part of the Strategy & Governance Certificate.

Course information:

  • Title: IT Strategy
  • Number of Course Modules: 4
  • Estimated Time to Complete: 2-3 hours
  • Featured Analysts:
  • Andy Liu, Associate Executive Advisor
  • David Glazer, Practice Lead, CIO Practice
  • Now Playing: Academy: IT Strategy | Executive Brief

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Identify IT Implications and Strategy Scope

The Purpose

  • Conduct analysis and facilitate discussions to uncover what business needs mean for IT and, based on the business mandate, set out the IT strategy scope.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • An understanding of what business needs mean for IT. Additionally, the IT strategy scope sets out the coverage of the IT strategy.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Review the business context.

  • Link between business capabilities/business initiatives and business goals
1.2

Review the link between business capabilities/business initiatives and business goals.

  • Link between business capabilities/business initiatives and business goals
1.3

Identify IT implications from the documented business context.

  • Implications on IT from the business context
1.4

Group the IT implications into themes from seven perspectives.

  • Implications on IT from the business context
1.5

Confirm the IT strategy scope.

  • IT strategy scope

Module 2: Define the IT Target State

The Purpose

  • Define statements, principles, goals, and target-state maturity to get a sense of where IT needs to go. Clearly understand where IT needs to go by defining the target-state IT capabilities.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identifies and documents, at a high level, IT’s target state. Additionally, the list of target-state capabilities defines in more detail and clarity how the target state will look.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Create the IT vision and mission statements and identify IT guiding principles.

  • IT vision statement
  • IT mission statement
  • IT guiding principles
2.2

Define IT goals.

  • IT goals
2.3

Determine the IT goal alignment to business goals.

2.4

Indicate the target-state IT maturity.

2.5

Identify target-state IT capabilities.

  • Target-state IT capabilities
2.6

Consolidate target IT capability map.

  • Target-state IT capabilities

Module 3: Assess the IT Current State

The Purpose

  • Gauge where the IT organization currently stands to get a baseline so that gaps can be identified between the current and target states.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Provides an assessment of the current state in terms of capabilities, planned initiatives, factors impacting IT, budget, and current-state maturity.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Review diagnostic results.

  • Documented current IT capabilities and the gap to the target state
3.2

Assess current IT capabilities.

  • Documented current IT capabilities and the gap to the target state
3.3

Review current IT budget.

3.4

Conduct IT SWOT analysis.

  • IT SWOT analysis
3.5

Identify current-state maturity.

3.6

Assess the gaps between current- and target-state capabilities.

  • Overall IT capabilities gap analysis

Module 4: Bridge the Gap and Create the Strategy

The Purpose

  • Identify the gaps between the current and target states and brainstorm initiatives to address the gaps. Set out next steps to reach IT strategy approval.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identifies the projects needed to reach the target state from the current state.
  • Links how the projects support IT capabilities, IT goals, and the business context.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Map key current IT initiatives to IT and business goals.

  • Documented relationship between IT goals, capabilities, and initiatives.
4.2

Brainstorm initiatives to address the gaps in capabilities.

  • List of new initiatives to reach the target state
4.3

Create initiative profiles.

  • IT initiative profiles
4.4

Prioritize IT initiatives.

  • IT strategy prioritization matrix
4.5

Create roadmaps for key IT initiatives.

  • IT strategy roadmaps
4.6

Identify required IT budget.

4.7

Summarize the highlights of the IT strategy.

Member Testimonials

Unlock Sample Research

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this Blueprint, and what our clients have to say.

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

Prince George's Community College

Guided Implementation

10/10

$12,562

9

Penn State Health

Workshop

10/10

$900K

65

IT Assist

Guided Implementation

9/10

$3,000

10

College of DuPage

Workshop

9/10

$50,248

32

District Of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board,The

Guided Implementation

9/10

$6,000

47

Lane Transit District

Workshop

8/10

$5,024

10

Baylor College of Medicine

Workshop

10/10

N/A

1

CLO-OCOL

Workshop

8/10

$23,500

20

City of Kelowna

Guided Implementation

9/10

N/A

5

CA Dept of Parks and Recreation

Workshop

10/10

$87,934

60

OMV

Guided Implementation

8/10

$2,946

1

City of Birmingham

Guided Implementation

9/10

$1.26M

50

Allegheny County, PA

Guided Implementation

10/10

$62,810

20

Chief Industries, Inc.

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

Aerovironment, Inc.

Workshop

8/10

$12,562

10

The Ottawa Hospital

Workshop

10/10

$100K

20

Milwaukee County Department of Administrative Services – Information Management Division (DAS-IMSD)

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

Vancouver Police Department

Workshop

10/10

N/A

20

Montgomery County Board of County Commissioners

Workshop

10/10

$255K

55

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio

Guided Implementation

9/10

$62,810

10

Croix-Rouge de Belgique

Guided Implementation

8/10

N/A

N/A

Yamana Gold

Workshop

10/10

$50,000

10

PharmaLex GmbH

Guided Implementation

8/10

$2,000

5

Turners and Growers

Workshop

9/10

$35,000

20

Fiven

Workshop

10/10

$25,000

50

Lee County Tax Collector

Workshop

9/10

N/A

32

Fusion Superplex

Guided Implementation

10/10

$100K

120

Massey University

Workshop

9/10

$11,305

18

Victoria Police Department

Guided Implementation

9/10

$10,000

50

Solar A/S

Workshop

10/10

$77,789

10

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